Understanding ISIS

Good day Hard-Chargers!

Many are still a bit confused as to what ISIS stands for and where it even originated, many only know that it is a terrorist group.

ISIS stands for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria because the group’s territory straddles the border between the two countries. ISIL stands for Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

The Levant is the historic name given to the entire region east of the Mediterranean from Egypt, east to Iran and to Turkey.The Levant

ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, was regarded by the west as a terrorist organization even before it began its murderous rampage across the Middle East.

Initially called al-Qaeda in Iraq, it became ISIS or ISIL in 2013, and then Islamic State after it claimed to have established a caliphate at the end of last summer.

Cities where ISIS has taken control are bleak, with public executions, beheadings, kidnap, amputations, torture and beatings among tactics used to maintain control.

ISIS has long targeted journalists and activists, and has been known to use suicide attacks and land mines against its opposition. 

ISIS murders


Being that caliphate was established, Islamic State now believes that it is the duty of all Muslims to emigrate to it and renounce citizenship of any other nation.

It regards any form of government other than its own as anathema to Islam. Islamic State’s leaders believe they are on course for an apocalyptic battle with their enemies, from which they will emerge victorious.

They fortell by saying “the armies of Rome [usually interpreted as any Christian or non-Islamic force] will mass to meet the armies of Islam in northern Syria; and that Islam’s final showdown with an anti-Messiah will occur in Jerusalem after a period of renewed Islamic conquest.”

Islamic State supporters actively welcome the prospect of western intervention, which they believe will hasten their own final victory.

ISIS group

Many ask if ISIS began as al-Qaeda and the answer is yes, however they were rejected last year, al-Qaeda feels that the group is too brutal and its focus on establishing a caliphate has distracted from the push in Syria to bring down President Assad.

Head of Islamic State

This would be no other than, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who is now seen as one of the most powerful jihadi leaders in the world.

He took over as leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq in late 2010 after its former leader was killed in an attack by U.S. Iraqi troops.

He insists on extreme secrecy, he is however believed to be in his 40’s with degree in Islamic Studies including poetry, history and genealogy.

He was born in Samarra a large Sunni city state north of Baghdad, he was also held prisoner by American Bocca Camp in southern Iraq between 2005-2009.

Abu-Bakr-al-BaghdaAbu bakr al-baghdadi

Leadership in the terrorist group are damn near exclusively made up of Iraqis, it has however gained thousands of volunteers from across the Middle East and the West.

US intelligence officials have previously said there are around 31,000 ISIS militants, with two thirds comprising foreign fighters. Kurdish leaders claim the total figure is much higher at around 200,000.

How ISIS is funded

ISIS made money through oil smuggling in Syria, racketeering and kidnappings, also through donations from private jihadi networks in the Gulf.

Word has it that militants seized oilfields in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province made alliances with certain tribes to extract oil and were believed to be extorting taxes up to $8 million a month from businesses in Mosul before it took over.

ISIS money

The group also looted money from the city’s banks making it the richest terrorist group in the world.

The group is responsible for over 10,000 operations in Iraq alone in 2013, with over 1000 assassinations and over 4000 improvised explosive devices planted.

Hope this helped those who are still a bit confused and not up to date understanding this group.

Isaac J. Hall II  



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